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Study Skills 101: A Back to School Refresher Course (page 2)

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Updated on Jul 9, 2009

Establish a Routine
Especially for the younger set, routines are important. Getting schoolwork out of the way sooner rather than later is preferable, especially since late study can interfere with family time, dinner and sleep—all of which are equally important to a child’s academic life. That said, try to give your child some control over when to study, and understand that when kids come home from school they will often need time to unwind—just make sure that a 20-minute cool down doesn’t turn into a three-hour Wii marathon.

Some parents may misread a child’s needs for breaks as laziness or procrastination, but it’s important that kids be given the opportunity to take them. With the use of their planners, help them divide larger tasks into smaller chunks and let them reward themselves with 10-minute breaks. These rest intervals actually help increase a child’s cognitive ability and can aid her in retention. Have light snacks and drinks on hand during these breaks, too—even the most diligent scholars will find it hard to study on an empty belly.

Establish Boundaries—For You
While your child is setting study habits, squelch the impulse to constantly hover or do things for him as much as is practical—this kind of behavior only hurts him in the long run. Routines may take a while to institute, but once kids have a particular study rhythm, things like academic planning and time management will eventually become second nature to them. Keep in mind that every child is different, and there is no perfect equation for study skills success that will fit them all equally. Know your child’s needs, goals and temperament. Discuss expectations, but instead of threatening or bargaining consider helping her to initiate a pattern that is both individualized and efficient. As you help your children to take more responsibility for small things, like study routines, you’re really helping her to take the first steps down the road of academic and intellectual independence.

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